Like many neighborhoods in our nation’s capital, the U Street area has had a rich history that is still in the making. The Shaw Neighborhood is home to some of the most unique places in the region with a lively atmosphere and close proximity to nearly every sort of venue and amenity you could possibly imagine. Over the past few years, the best of the old has been met with the best of the new, and if you’re looking for some of the hottest night life in Washington DC intermixed with stunning Victorian architecture and a vibrant cultural heritage, U Street is where you need to be.
U Street Music Hall
The U Street Music Hall is a popular favorite not only because of its impressive and expansive drink selection but because of the plethora of great shows occurring there every weekend and many weeknights. This DJ-owned and operated club first opened its doors in 2010 and has refused to stop grooving ever since. Moreover, the U Street Music Foundation offers music education grants to DC area youth to help those in need and to assure that the revitalized DC music scene will continue its impressive rate of growth. So if you’re in the mood to check out a new band, or you know that one of your favorites might be in town (see their website for a full concert calendar), the U Street Music Hall is a perfect place to begin—or end—your night exploring Shaw.
Takoda is perhaps the greatest new restaurant and bar to open in the U Street Washington DC area. Since its opening in late 2015, its popularity has only continued to increase. What makes this place so unique is that there is something for everybody and there is always something going on. The menu features one of the best bacon-infused burgers around, as well as a wide variety of other American-styled fare that will be sure to satisfy. Beyond the delicious food, the rooftop beer garden has already become a local favorite with some of the finest craft brews and drink selections in the area, and the scenic views of the neighborhood that can be taken in from the roof of this revitalized establishment are almost as cool as the beer that’s on tap all year round.
Post-industrial conversions of older buildings have been a growing trend in the DC area, and there is perhaps nowhere better than the Shaw Neighborhood to see this trend on display. The tasteful brick façade you’ll find at Takoda juxtaposed with the structural improvements and modern amenities existing throughout makes this bar a truly unforgettable experience.
Cloak & Dagger
What makes Cloak & Dagger so unique and worthwhile is the way in which it combines the old with the new to provide a truly transcendental experience for its visitors. This Victorian-themed night club combines the tasteful aesthetics of early D.C. architecture with the rich cultural heritage that has enabled the town to enter a new era of revitalized glory. There are few, if any, other venues in America that can claim to have been named in the top 45 Hip Hop venues in the nation while always maintaining such a strong commitment to their 19th Century architecture and décor, but Cloak & Dagger still manages to pull this off to near perfection.
Sudhouse DC is one of the most charming American themed bar and grills in the entire area, and definitely worth a visit by anybody looking for some good food and a great atmosphere. Sudhouse DC was founded by Washington locals who were inspired by the Bohemian atmosphere of the neighborhood and sought to establish a mom-and-pop styled bar and grill that would make its customers feel as if they were not just guests, but a member of their family. This ambition is reflected in its highly relaxed atmosphere, its personable staff, and the quality of the food and drinks it offers. Furthermore, the ample amounts of Americana decoration displayed throughout the establishment are a worthwhile reflection of the city as a whole.
The Shaw Neighborhood, in a sense, is a microcosm of the entire Washington DC area. While many tourists will immediately flock to the National Mall and other historic monuments located to the neighborhoods more publicized south, Shaw is an area that allows true culture, history, and good times to vibrantly and organically come together. Whether you are looking to find some of the top food in the area, sample some innovative microbrews, catch some live music, or simply explore the city you love, these bars are just a few of the many gems you can find in this lively and historic neighborhood. So, while you are in the capitol city, you should come by and capitalize on an unforgettable experience!